'Looking for Mr Gill'


Looking for Mr Gill - an exploration of the legacy that Eric Gill, maverick genius of the Arts and Crafts Movement, has left to Ditchling, the early twentieth-century Sussex village setting for his controversial experiment in art and community.

In 1907 Eric Gill, maverick genius of the Arts and Crafts movement, set up home in Ditchling's High Street. It was the start of an extraordinary adventure that helped shape the character of British Art in the past century. It certainly had a profound effect on Ditchling.

'Looking for Mr Gill' is a personal journey by resident film maker Luke Holland ­ a journey in search of Eric Gill's Ditchling legacy. Gill was a hugely talented artist, calligrapher, sculptor, etcher, letter-cutter, font designer and polemicist. Gill's legacy is complex. An artist of acknowledged genius, his morals remain a subject of heated controversy.

Insights on Gill's art and his improbable sexual proclivities ­ including incestuous relationships with his daughters and sister - are offered by surviving members of the Catholic Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, established on Ditchling Common, by Gill and his followers. Among them are the calligrapher Ewan Clayton and 90 year-old Edgar Holloway (who married Gill's former mistress and favourite model) who still lives on Ditchling Common, in a house designed by Gill.

Ditchling owes much of its international reputation as a centre for the arts, to Gill and his fellow artist craftsmen. 'Looking for Mr Gill' offers an unlikely encounter with Zen calligrapher, Kazuaki Tanahashi, ceramics collector Sir David Attenborough and other distinguished Ditchling pilgrims.








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The Ditchling Films
Screened on BBC2 in January 2007, this series of five documentary films for the award-winning BBC 'Storyville' strand, had an earlier outing on BBC4.

Going for the Kill
The Ditchling series opens with this film, in which Luke follows a year in the life of Sussex farmer and Master of the local hunt, Gary Lee, at the time when the contentious Hunting Bill was being debated in Parliament.

Salad Days
A village production of this hit musical of Cold War England, offers insights on backstage Ditchling - an exercise in nostalgia, or updated escapism for a new dark age?

Closing Time
Ditchling campaigns to save the village pub from a commercial assault that makes a nonsense of democracy - and of community.

The Ditchling Ladies
This, the last film in the series, features four ladies of Ditchling, two in their nineties, who offer entertaining and improbably lively insights on life, loss and love.

Film reviews and comments
'An elegiac 90-minute film...an engrossing and deftly crafted documentary.' The Sunday Times. Read more newspaper reviews and viewers' comments.

Interview with Luke Holland
Transcript of an interview by the BBC with the film-maker, Luke Holland, about the making of the five-part documentary series, 'A Very English Village'.

Useful links

Eric Gill Society
A resource for the work and history of Eric Gill and the Guild of St Joseph, founded in Ditchling, Sussex.

Edward Johnston Foundation
A research centre for calligraphy and the lettering arts. Edward Johnston, calligrapher, also lived and worked in the Sussex village of Ditchling.



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